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LOOK: Mountains of rubbish piling up on streets

Mercury logo Mercury 2018-10-12 Karen Singh and Kailene Pillay
a man with a piece of luggage sitting on the side of a road: Gardener Muzi Ndlovu from Glenwood struggles with the amount of rubbish hes has to get rid off outside the apartment his works in Picture: DOCTOR NGCOBO © Provided by Independent Media Gardener Muzi Ndlovu from Glenwood struggles with the amount of rubbish hes has to get rid off outside the apartment his works in Picture: DOCTOR NGCOBO

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal’s two main cities, Durban and Pietermaritzburg, resembled dump sites this week as mountains of rubbish piled up on streets.

In Pietermaritzburg, residents were left with three weeks of household rubbish because vehicles operated by Msunduzi Municipality were not allowed on the roads due to licensing problems.

Northdale ward councillor Rooksana Ahmed said the municipal refuse removal trucks were not licensed. She said the municipality was also dealing with alleged fraudulent overtime submissions by workers. Spokesperson for the Msunduzi municipality, Ntobeko Ngcobo, said the rubbish was not collected “due to a staff-related matter which was addressed”. Ngcobo urged residents to continue to put out their refuse on the usual collection days.

In Durban, about 800 workers from the Expanded Public Works Programme attached to Durban Solid Waste, downed tools and locked some of the gates to the depots, preventing trucks from leaving their stations.

In some neighbourhoods, residents removed their waste from the roadside to avoid animals breaking into the bags and digging through the rubbish.

The uncollected rubbish issue reached areas as far as the North Coast.

Virona Govender said the stench in some roads was “terrible” and stray dogs were ripping open rubbish bags, leaving their contents strewn across the street.

She said the problem was compounding because some residents, in a desperate attempt to keep their area clean, were illegally dumping their rubbish bags on open fields and down embankments.

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede said she was dismayed by the illegal industrial action by the employees who trashed the inner city.

She said the Expanded Public Works Programme workers embarked on the strike, demanding immediate permanent employment from the city.

“As the leadership of this city we understand that the situation is difficult for everyone, including our employees, however, this does not condone the illegal action. The disruption of services and trashing of the city will not resolve problems.”

Gumede said the strike has since come to a halt, with workers due to resume duties by yesterday afternoon to alleviate the waste removal backlog.

When The Mercury reporter, Karen Singh went out with a photographer to gauge the extent of the strike, they found a car guard cleaning up parking bays in the CBD. He said because of the litter, no one was parking in the bays and that meant he would not make any money to buy food. 

The Mercury

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